The biggest matchup of week two takes place in Columbus when the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes host the 12th-ranked Oregon Ducks. Both teams survived week one scares, and now the Buckeyes look to continue holding onto a top four ranking while the Ducks look to earn a victory that would be huge for them and the Pac 12 as a whole.
Irish Breakdown makes predictions for the matchup.
BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER
Prediction: Ohio State 34, Oregon 27
I really, really wanted to go with Oregon in this game and I do believe the Ducks can pull off the upset. I'm going with Ohio State for three reasons, with the first being the most obvious, the Buckeyes are at home. Ohio State hasn't lost a game in the Shoe since 2017 when it lost to then 3rd-ranked Oklahoma, who was led by quarterback Baker Mayfield. Oregon QB Anthony Brown is certainly no Baker Mayfield and that's what could hold the Duck offense back, which is my second reason for going with the Buckeyes.
I'm also concerned about the questionable health of star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who would have presented the Buckeyes with a major problem on the edge if he was healthy. Ohio State looked very beatable in the opener and Oregon is a better team than Minnesota. If the Ducks can get the ground game rolling early and if Brown can make some big throws they could not only keep it close, Oregon could win this game.
In the end my prediction is that Ohio State's ground attack and Oregon's lack of big plays result in the Buckeyes coming away with the home win.
VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST
Prediction: Ohio State 35, Oregon 31
Arguably, ok may not much of an argument, the best game of the weekend after a week one that was unbelievable. What can Ohio State be this year? That is a really interesting question. Not many people will argue the fact that the offense, led by first year starter CJ Staud, will hold their own this season. When you have guys like Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson to throw to it makes a new quarterback's job a LOT easier.
The real question is can they stop anyone with their defense? I was not impressed with the effort by the defense last weekend but they had an offense that can score. Will it be enough this week? Ohio State is favored by two touchdowns in this one. I think Oregon will make some plays I think they will make this Buckeye defense look silly at times but it won't be enough to outscore the Ohio State offense. I do think they will get inside the 14 point spread. Look for this one to be close down the stretch.
GRANT DELVECCHIO, STAFF WRITER
Prediction: Ohio State, Oregon 27
In spite of some first half struggles, Ohio State ended up beating a very good Minnesota team in Minnesota week one by two scores. CJ Stroud threw just 5 passes in the second half and four of them went for touchdowns, all of which were over 30 yard scores. I think the Ohio State passing attack has an even better performance against the Ducks, who allowed 298 passing yards against Fresno St in week one and might be without dominant edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. I like Oregon’s rushing attack between Anthony Brown, Travis Dye and CJ Verdell but I’m not sure the pass game has what it needs to take down Ohio State. Buckeyes roll in their home opener.
ANDREW McDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Ohio State 48, Oregon 27
You can be forgiven for thinking that Ohio State’s 45-31 win over Minnesota last Thursday night was a replay of one of the Buckeyes’ 2020 games, because the explosive, big-play offense combined with a defense that doesn’t quite play up to its talent level were again on display. QB CJ Stroud overcame an erratic first half to lead an offensive explosion in the second half in his first career start, as Ohio State scored on touchdowns of 71, 38, 56, 70, and 61 yards.
On the other sideline, Oregon needed a 4th quarter rally to knock off Fresno State 31-24. Despite having dual-threat QB Anthony Brown to go along with RB CJ Verdell, who has rushed for over 2500 career yards, the Ducks were outgained by Fresno State and averaged only 3.8 YPC. Even though the Ducks escaped with a win, they were not unscathed, as All-American DE Kayvon Thibodeaux injured his ankle and his status for the Ohio State game is still up in the air.
Were this game in Autzen Stadium, the Ducks may have a chance, but winning in the Horseshoe in Columbus is too much to ask. Even if Thibodeaux is able to play, he will be facing one of the best offensive lines in the country, and further complicating matters for the Ducks, this game kicks off at 9am Pacific Time as part of Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff. I expect Oregon to move the ball but ultimately not be able to keep the pace offensively with the Buckeyes. The best shot for Oregon will be to attempt to run the ball and limit Ohio State’s possessions while forcing a couple turnovers.
SHAUN DAVIS, ESPN CHICAGO
Prediction: Ohio State 34, Oregon 28
Despite a somewhat sloppy performance by the Buckeyes in their opener against Minnesota, there was a clear message sent to the rest of the Big Ten. “Have Talent, Will Score”! The Buckeyes rushing attack will be a major factor in this contest, as Kayvon Thibodeuax and the Ducks invade Columbus. Stroud may not have as much time to survey the field, and a balanced offensive attack would go a long way to neutralizing the number one player on most NFL Draft boards. Anthony Brown and the Ducks have tons of speed on offense and the offensive line loves to maul, giving their smaller running backs holes to dart through. This game has everything you want in a big-time non-conference matchup and I expect plenty of fireworks early.
JP SCOTT, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Ohio State 37, Oregon 31
I think Oregon’s front seven is going to give Ohio State’s young freshman QB fits. The Buckeyes will need to lean in their running backs to wear down the Duck front. Once that happens, look for a big play through the air to seal this one late for Ohio State.
RYAN ROBERTS, RISENDRAFT
Prediction: Ohio State 35, Oregon 20
It was an up and down first week for the Buckeyes, seeing starting quarterback CJ Stroud show some warts in his first game action. Oregon also had a less than inspiring 31-24 victory over Fresno State last week, seeing some struggles from Anthony Brown under center. It sounds like star pass rusher Kayon Thibodeaux is a go but it won't matter against the talented Ohio State team. Eventually, the talent rises to the top here.
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